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A Ranma ½ / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon / Ah! My Goddess crossover story
by L. S. McGill

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 characters property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Sailor Moon characters property of Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC. Ah! My Goddess property of Fujishima Kosuke, Kodansha, TBS and KSS films; AnimEigo, Studio Proteus, and Dark Horse Comics. Other characters who may cameo are property of respective owners.  All are used without permission. I did not write this for profit, but for practice. Will be removed at request of original creators or authorized rep.

Zhu Shu (who shoo), Tao-Ching, Xi'an Chi (zy-an chee), and Clans' Dragon and Skorpion are mine, and may be used so long as I am asked beforehand.

Book Two: The Dragon's Child

Prologue: The Dance of Shadows

Zhu Shu watched Shan Pu walk down the hall towards the stairs and sighed. That had been far harder than she had thought it would be. Shan Pu’s eyes had barely left her the entire time she had helped her dress, and the unspoken desire had nearly been more than she could stand. Her heart had screamed at her to accept the invitations from Ranma and Shan Pu to join them as another wife, but she knew too well the disaster that awaited if she had. She was happy her friend was on her way to her engagement; she just wished….

She turned and looked at the formal Mandarin gown laid out on her bed. She really should put it on and go down to join the ceremony, but she just couldn’t summon the will to. Her mind whirled with too many conflicting emotions: happiness, jealousy, relief, despair… Ever since she had merged chi with Akane, she had felt like she was dancing along a razorblade. The chaotic whirlwind of Akane’s passions had nearly shattered the iron control she had been forced to build following Ying Ying’s death, the sole defense she had against the overwhelming grief….

She sat on the edge of the bed and picked up the small framed picture Kasumi had given her of their kiss on the subway. Her first day with the Tendos had been so chaotic… and yet… Kasumi had made her feel so welcome, despite the way she had surprised her the night before. The eldest Tendo sister had forged a friendship with her that Zhu Shu cherished. As desirable as she found Kasumi, there was no feeling of tension between them. Kasumi knew Zhu Shu’s preferences, knew Zhu Shu thought she was sexy, and simply accepted it, so it had become a non-issue. Kasumi had been there when she’d needed advice on how to deal with Akane, and had even actively helped.

But this? This was something Zhu Shu couldn’t bring herself to lay at Kasumi’s feet. How could she burden her with such chaos? No, it would not do to expose such a fountain of light to the darkness that had consumed her soul with Ying Ying’s death, or the delicate balance she had achieved to survive.

Until Akane….

She shut the thought out as she stood and went to her closet, choosing a few simple dresses. She had to go away. She needed time to think… to figure out which of the emotions rampaging in her head were really hers… to try and find some way to regain the emotional control the chi merger had nearly shattered.

After she had packed the dresses, she reached behind her back and drew her swords… She removed the ribbons, then picked up her pack and the small sword stand Rei had given her, heading down to the small shrine the Tendos kept.

The peace that washed over her as she entered helped her calm her raging thoughts. She needed that calm. She needed a counter to the chaos her life had become.

As she set the swords down and draped her signet ring over them, she realized where she should go; where she could find enough peace to think.

She prayed to the Dragon to watch over the Tendos while she was away, and she felt the comforting sense of his presence. It gave her the strength to push her mental storm back and gain at least a little equilibrium.

Control. How had she lost control? She had only intended to prepare Ranma for Shan Pu, and to guide him to happiness with Akane… How had she allowed herself to become so entangled? In the momentary peace of the shrine, she had to admit that the chi merger had only intensified what had already been happening. She had been slowly losing her emotional armor before it had turned her soul into a battlefield.

She found herself looking at the small duck nameplate Akane had on her door. She’d been so engrossed in her musings, she had wandered back upstairs — more evidence of her loss of control — but she had her answer.

Akane. The unexpected fiancée. The wild card.

Akane, the girl who had found the chinks in the armor she’d built around her heart. The girl who had stolen away that heart. The girl who had nearly driven her to abandon her duty, her honor… to throw away the very things that had allowed her to go on living once Ying Ying had died.

And yet… it was never to be. She was Ranma’s fiancée, and soon to be Shan Pu’s. She could never be hers, not in any honorable way. Not in any way that would not lead to a despair she would never wish to see on Akane’s face. No… It was better to spare her that fate.

Back downstairs. She stood in the shadows to see Ranma accepting Shan Pu’s betrothal, noting the jealous look on Akane’s face. She sighed, hoping Akane would not cause Shan Pu too many problems for a few days. She just needed to regain her equilibrium before the wall fell and allowed the black flood of her grief to once more drown her in its cold embrace.

Outside. She walked down the street, not really going in any particular direction; just wandering, led by the swirls of her thoughts and the maelstrom of the emotions she’d inadvertently drawn from Akane.

Why had they merged chi? Other than the ceremonial joining with Shan Pu as her blood-sister, and the bonds she had with her swords, only Ying Ying had merged with her. It had been so wondrous, so joyous a bonding between them, eagerly tying their lives together in their love and joy at sharing that love. Yet for all the ecstasy of shared sensations, they had not shared each others memories and emotions. What had made Akane so different?

She passed Ryouga, determinedly heading for the dojo. She figured he might find it next week, as he was heading in exactly the wrong direction. She smiled. She could sympathize with the lost boy. She had felt like she was lost all the time recently too, wandering aimlessly through a blizzard in the dark.

Why had Ranma had to go and ask her to marry him? Why hadn’t he just left their friendship alone? She had never meant for him to learn of her love…

Her heart ached… and the loneliness threatened to overwhelm her.

Alone. She’d been alone for too many years — ever since Ying Ying — until she came to Japan, where everyone cared for her.

The aloneness had been easier to bear when no one cared… When no-one knew about her heartache and failure but her aunt and grandfather. The caring all her friends showed her had thrown the loneliness into sharp relief, and brought back the whispers of her grief. That it had not already poured from the cracks in her wall of control and drawn her back screaming into the abyss was a wonder she couldn’t explain.

Footsteps. Behind her. She stopped and turned.

A shadowy figure walked up the street towards her, her features lost in the twilight. The dying rays of the sun twinkled off the headpiece of her long golden staff, the ruby seeming to draw the light in and burn. Long silver hair swirled about her ankles along with the long white robe trimmed in red and black. Zhu Shu blinked. As she drew closer, that sense of familiarity grew stronger.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"A messenger, My Little Mouse with the eyes of a Dragon."

Recognition came. She had seen her nearly five years ago… after…

The memory swept across her, of the day she had succumbed to the blackness, had lost herself in the torrent and been dragged under. The wind had played through her hair as she stood on the cliff where they had so often come to get away from the village, where they had… The grief had been so overwhelming and it would never end… could never end. All she had wanted to do was see Ying Ying again. She had stepped forward….

And awoken in her bed to the kind face before her, all memory of how she had gotten there missing, lost in a golden fog. Only the echoes of Ying Ying’s voice in her ears.

<<I am here…. Always and forever, I am here.>>

That echo had allowed her to wall away the despair, to face the world once more and somehow make it through. There was nothing the world could throw at her worse than the loss of Ying Ying.

But she had not done it on her own. When she had awoken, she had the Dragon tattoo on her back.

"I remember you." Zhu Shu said slowly. "You came the day…"

"The Dragon claimed you," the old woman finished. "Yes. That was the first of our meetings. There have been others, in dreams."

"Why are you here?"

"As I said… I am being a messenger."

"And what is the message?" Zhu Shu looked at her curiously. Was that a faint trace of green in her hair?

"The Wheel of Souls has spun out once more that which once was. Look to the past to find the answers of the future. Be strong, Dragon’s Child, for the future you choose may affect more than just yourself. The game has just begun. You may face many dangers and many foes, yet behind them all is the same enemy. Choose your destiny with care, Little Mouse." She turned to go.

"Wait!" Zhu Shu called. "Who are you?"

The old woman turned. "We will meet again soon enough. I must come to you twice more in the flesh ere my onus to you is done and you meet me… for my first time anyway. I have not always looked as I do now." A sad sigh came from her lips. "I fear I must apologize for my actions when I first meet you. I… regret them very much. I hope you will remember that, after…." She turned and continued down the street.

Zhu Shu wanted to run after her, to ask her what her puzzling words meant, but she couldn’t move her feet. Then she was gone, lost in the shadows.

A wave of dizziness washed over her as she sat up, suddenly aware she was lying on a bus stop bench. She couldn’t remember how she had gotten there. A golden haze once more lay over her memories of the last several hours. She had been walking in the early afternoon and now… a glance at a bank clock down the street showed it to be after midnight.

She shook her head. Such a strange dream.

She stood and looked around, realizing the street looked vaguely familiar, then turned around and realized why. Behind her, steps rose up to a hilltop covered in cherry trees around a shrine. She was where she had been heading: Hikawa Shrine.

Dismissing the disquieting vision, she climbed the steps to the first place in Japan she’d actually felt comfortable at and quietly opened the shrine doors. The main shrine was quiet, the still glowing embers of the fire dimly illuminating the room. Zhu Shu nodded to herself. Stepping within was an almost palpable relief as she felt the peace of the shrine envelope her and lessen the roar of her inner storm.

Stepping into the shrine’s center, she mentally laid out a dragon mandala on the floor, fixing its boundaries in her mind’s eye and ensuring there were no obstructions with in its confines. Satisfied, she finally closed her eyes and saw only the mandala as she drew out her ribbons and began to dance….


To be continued.

Book Two, Chapter 1
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